Nano Box Reef is breathing new life into older fixtures with some pretty compelling modifications with the Nano Box Reef RETRO program to bring custom T5-LED and metal halide-LED hybrids to market. As a DIY hack, I always envisioned the clean, sleek and stylish aquarium but my budget often said otherwise so I have a soft spot in my heart for retro projects. Nano Box Reef is not disappointing us with what we have seen so far.
We came across this interesting image of a T5-LED hybrid by member “4×5” at the Nano-Reef forums and thought ATI had a new product until we did a bit more digging. Seems the customer was having issues with shadowing on his acropora corals and wanted to add some T5 supplementation but his options for his situation wasn’t going to provide a clean and sleek look to go with his rimless setup. He contacted Nano Box Reef and he ended up with a retrofitted four-bulb ATI 24W Sunpower T5 fixture. For this particular lamp, they added two Nano Box 13Up LED arrays, a Storm Controller, internal drivers, rewired the T5s and painted the fixture white.
“Normally I do it per the customer’s request or they let me run with it,” said Nano Box Reef owner David Fason. “For this customer I had an old [ATI] Sunpower that I did all the work. I am buying old units like this and adding LED and better T5 equipment. However most of the time people contact me about the RETRO and I will take it from there.”
We were intrigued with the LED array and diode choice as we all know, all LEDs are not created equal. Fason let us in on his design for the Nano Box Array that is a simple two-channel setup that includes two warm white, one neutral white, two lime green and two violet 3W LEDs along with two blue and four royal blue 3W LEDs to get it reef ready. They have been experimenting with the blend over time and added the lime green LED in March and has been really pleased with the results. They are using Philips Rebel ES/Rebel LEDs except for the violets that are SEMILED.
If you are interested in learning more, visit the RETRO page at the Nano Box website and make sure you check out the other RETRO’d projects by Nano Box in the gallery below.